Aboriginal timeline: Politics

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1977

  1. NSW Anti-Discrimination Act comes into force.

  2. Neville Perkins (Australian Labor Party) is elected to the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly, becoming the first Aboriginal person to hold a shadow portfolio. He is appointed deputy leader of the Northern Territory Australian Labor Party.

1979

  1. The first Aboriginal parliamentarian, Neville Bonner, receives the Australian of the Year award. Famous Aboriginal people

  2. Cyril Kennedy (Australian Labor Party) is the first Aboriginal person to be elected to the Victorian Legislative Council, representing the electorate of Waverley.

1980

  1. Jim Hagan is the first Australian Aboriginal person to address the United Nations in Geneva taking Indigenous matters to the international stage when the Fraser government fails to stop mining on sacred sites on Noonkanbah Station, about 300 kms west of Broome in northwest Western Australia.

  2. Ernie Bridge (Australian Labor Party) becomes the first Aboriginal member of the Parliament of Western Australian when he wins the seat of Kimberley. He later becomes the first Aboriginal person to hold a ministerial office.

1981

  1. Michael Anderson, the only surviving founder of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy, becomes the first Aboriginal Australian to address the United Nations.

1983

  1. Wesley Lanhupuy (Australian Labor Party), from central coastal Arnhem Land, is elected to the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly representing the electorate of Arnhem.

1984

  1. Enrolment and voting in Commonwealth elections is now compulsory for Aboriginal people.

  2. End of various "protection acts", which had existed since 1897 in Queensland. Under these laws Aboriginal people were effectively slave labourers; the wages for their labour were stolen by the State or never even claimed by the State from the employers. The issue of reparation remains unresolved.

1987

  1. Stanley Tipiloura (Australian Labor Party), from Bathurst Island, is elected to the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly, representing the electorate of Arafura.

  2. Northern Territory elections are held and for the first time voting is compulsory for Aboriginal people.

1988

  1. Human Rights Commission reports that conditions at Toomelah and Boggabilla settlements are worse than in Third World countries.

  2. Australia’s representative to the United Nations Human Rights Committee acknowledges ‘public policy regarding the care of Aboriginal children, particularly during the postwar period, had been a serious mistake’.

1989

  1. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) is established as main Commonwealth agency in Indigenous affairs.

1991

  1. The Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation is set up, funded by the federal government, with cross-party support. The parliament noted that there had not been a formal process of reconciliation to date, “and that it was most desirable that there be such a reconciliation” by 2001.

1992

  1. Maurice Rioli (Australian Labor Party), from Melville Island is elected to the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly representing the electorate of Arafura.

  2. Labor Prime Minister Paul Keating’s Redfern speech at the launch of the International Year of the Indigenous People acknowledges past wrongs perpetrated against Aboriginal people.

1995

  1. John Ah Kit (Australian Labor Party), from Darwin is elected to the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly representing the electorate of Arnhem.

1996

  1. Pauline Hanson and her One Nation Party campaign against Aboriginal ‘special treatment’.

Harvard citation

Korff, J 2020, Aboriginal timeline: Politics, <https://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/history/australian-aboriginal-history-timeline/politics?page=4>, retrieved 25 October 2020

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